USA Hockey Ties Run Through Three NHL Officials

“It was a really cool experience,” McNamara said. “I’d never worked any type of international hockey before in my life, so it was really interesting to see how the game is played from different countries.”

McNamara, 26, has also had a long road to get to officiating professional hockey.

Growing up in Lantana, Florida — historically not a hockey hotbed — McNamara played juniors for the Florida Jr. Blades. He played club hockey at the University of New Hampshire, winning a national title his freshman season.

McNamara started refereeing at 13 at the youth level. In college, he worked junior games and went to a couple USA Hockey camps. He learned about the opportunities through the ODP.

In the 2016-17 season, McNamara was invited to an ODP Prospects Camp. He worked part-time in the NAHL while wrapping up his college hockey career.

The following summer, he worked full-time through the NAHL and did some USHL games when he moved to St. Paul, Minnesota.

McNamara was fully engrossed in the ODP from 2017-18 and 2018-19. He moved to Des Moines, Iowa, to officiate USHL games and dabbled in ECHL, AHL and Division I NCHC contests.

“I was working four, five, six different leagues that year,” McNamara said. “It was very cool to kind of see how the players progressed and how the officiating progressed and how the talent gets better as you move up the chain.”

He got a full-time opportunity through the ECHL the next summer and moved to Greenville, South Carolina. After COVID shut down the league prematurely, McNamara moved back home to Florida to do ECHL games.

McNamara is now excited to have a shot at working NHL games.

“I think any time you get to step on the ice and put on that NHL jersey and just represent the NHL, I think is a huge honor in itself,” McNamara said. “I think that definitely would excite anybody. To be able to be on the ice with all these great officials and players and coaches, I think it’s a dream come true to anybody. It’s definitely something I’m not taking for granted, that’s for sure.” 

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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